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NAVAL NOTES

iCONTRTBCTED BY IHK NAVX LeAOPE, Otaoo Bkanch.]

Hearts of oafc are our ships, Jolly tars are our men, We always are ready. Steady, boys, steady! We'll fight and we'll conquer Again and again! ffcnse jolly tars you sees in a play, A reecum' "erosnes and shoutm' " Belay!''

THE PERSONAL EQUATION'. Shall we reap the benefit front our long service Navy which we always hoped would be ours if war came? As Mr Archibald Hurd has pointed out, when peace reigns the tendency is to compute naval Mrongxh in 6hips of war, but war reinforces the conclusion that a far surer guide i* the number and character of the officers and men. Wo may be grateful that the naval authorities were adamant during the past few years in their demands tor a larger personnel, and that Lord Fisher had the genius to establish the Royal Fleet Reeerve— numbering 30,000 men—on which we could draw in an emergency. In the opening year of this century—only 14 years eince—we had practically no trained reserve. Reforms were introduced, and the foundation of our strength and confid-

ence in facing the enemy lies in the ease with which, by a parliamentary formality, tho Admiralty have been able to secure without delay" or confusion a well-seasoned and trained'body of over 200,000 officers and men. The triumph lias been achieved without calling up more than about 20,000 merchant seamen, and thus, the Merchant Navy, to essential for procuring food and raw material, has not been laid up. Nor is this all. The average service of the men manning the German ships is only, probably, two years —there aie some thousand long-service volunteers, but of the remaining conscripts some have served nearly three years, others almost two years, and others, again (about 20,000), only nine months. On the other hand, 90 per cent. >if the British crews have been at sea five -"years or more. Meet of the German sailors come from inland districts, moreover; England's are real seamen. li. therefore, there is anything in the sea instinct and in acquaintance with sea conditions, the men who are now on board British ships of war awaiting the supreme contest ought to triumph. No one can prophesy what the future may reveal, but the nation has ground for sober confidence. SHIPBUILDING IN TIME OF WAR, The action taken by a body of German politicians, who represent a majority in tho Reichstag, in offering what is tantamount to a blank cheque to the Imperial Navy Department is (says Mr H. C. Bywater) no doubt meant as a dramatic manifestation of patriotism, intended in the first plate to strike awe into the enemies of the Fatherland, England especially. the effect of this coup on British opinion he disappointing to its authors, for very little attention has been paid so far ti> the threatened increase of tire Imperial fleet. Aa a political manoeuvre the Berlin announcement has fallen quite flat. It ie the easiest thing in the world to draw up on paper a gigantic programme of naval construction, but quite another to carry it out. Germany in the past has, it is true, unswervingly materialised a succession of programmes not less formidable than this new project. But what is possible in peace may prove impracticable ■under war conditions. We are told that a large number of super-Dreadnoujhts are to be pnt in hand "at once," together with a host of small cruisers, six " divisions" of destroyers, and submarines and aircraft ad lib. At one stroke "the righting efficiency of the Imperial fleet is to be increased by 100 per cent." By "divisions" it is probable that flotillas axe meant, six of which, would total 72 destroyers. As regards the construction of this emergencyfleet, there is no reason to enppo&e German shipbuilding resources unequal to such a demand, large as it. is. The yards have never been worked to their full capacity ha yet, end most of them have devoted their main energies to the construction of merchant vessels, though nearly every one of the big German yards is cap&le of and has actually ■undertaken naval shipbuilding. WHAT BARS THE WAY.

Dealing with thig subject in the ' Narv League Animal' for 1908, Mr Bywater says he made the following comments, which it may not be inopportune to reproduce: "ICrnpp'a vaet works at Eseen represent the unknown quantity, for upon this firm must fall the whole burden of supplying the new German leviathans with armor end artillery. Germany is unforfumite m possessing but one foundry capable of turn3ng ont guns of heavy calibre, though it mast be owned that, up to the present, every weapon ordered from Essen has been delivered strictly according to contract time. Government orders so far have tteen executed by Krupp in conjunction with work for foreign countries. It is therefore obvious that the rejection of all save national work would enable the factory to increase its present output of offensive and defensive equipment, especially as the establishment is now being enlarged very considerably. Neverthless . . . it is recognised iu Germany that in case of emergency the supply ot gun-s and armor might be unequal to a severe strain."

Such an emergency now appears to have arisen, but it must bo admitted that .since those words were -written the- capacity of the Essen shops has been very largely increased, both for guns and armorplate. Vet it 13 still doubtful whether the firm is in a position to supply the ordnance and armor for such a fleet as ia now projected ■within two years, or even three. One or two other German firms now manufacture naval guns up to 6in calibre, but the whole of the main battery weapoAi and every ton of 'armor would have to be manufactured at Essen. This is the rock on which an ambitious naval scheme such as is now proposed may come to grief. GERMANS AND MINE LAYING. The Germans have been using trawlers for mine laying under the British flag. Any Power at war had, of course, the Tight to bow these machines in pursuit of it« military policy, either in its own or in its enemy a territorial waters—after the declaration of war. It is established, however, that Germany was engaged in this operation before war was declared, and has persisted in placing mines not in territorial waters, but in the fairwavs of commerces She has thus committed two sints rach of an outrageous character. Conv tuentins upon. Germany's policv, the 'New .York World* remarks: "If German war vessels were to fire upon and sink neutral ships, there would be no question of the Empire's responsibility. The weakest of nations would make reprisals instantly. RlaraUy, there can be no difference between a deliberate broadside and a cate-Jully-calculated trap." Already the Germans have sunk many neutral ships of commerce in the North Sea, and throughout the world there will be general agreement that "in the long run there will be neither profit nor glory front such operations." It was calculated by the Germans that by this policy they would wear down the margin of strength jot the British fleet. ... In the new 'Navy List' a list is given of over 100 trawlers'which have been taken into His Majesty's service, no doubt for the purpose of sweeping in the North •Sea. If mine laying ana submarining and ;ssccantue marine destroying axe the best that Germany can do in order to win ranown for her new navy, the world will form a very poor opinion of the fleet and its officers and men. THE GOEBEN AND BRESLAU. No incident in warfare since modern fibips were built has created more surprise than the flight of the Goeben and her small ooDcort the Breslau. During tho early days of war the British and French naval forces were engaged in securing the safe transpert of French troops from the African ccast to French noil. As soon as thw operation had been successfully completed the ships under the two flags turned to deal with the small German detachment. At the mere eight of the light cruiser Gloucester the German ships took to their heels and sought the protection of the Dardanelles, believing that Captain Kelly's , cruiser was the advanced guard of the armored shipn under Wr Berkeley Milne. VD>«*;«»««^-4atTWStic3^jMii:f*t .^BSSfcS

and the price consisted of all the valiant boasts which had been mad© over a long series of years of the maimer m which German officers would act even -when confronted with heavy odds. We had all thetlwtitricnt business of wills a>»d private papers being kft with tb,? German Consul at MesaVnal of the leaving for soa with kinds ■ playinsr, and then when a British i-rniser appeared—and not a largo one—the enemy turns and runs away. Whatever the "issue of the war. this incident is one that Is something less than creditable. Tt is not'certain that'even now the German Navy Department has confessed to the German people tin? ignominious fate which has overtaken these two ships in the Mediterranean.

BEFORE THE GLOUCESTER CAME. When the Gnebe-n and Brcslau put into Messina to coal and had then gone forth no one knew where, the "Loknlanzieger' printed a p.ean m praise of tho exploit, hoaxing that "truly our fWt can let itself be *ecn in the "world, and will show our enemies that they cannot tret into torch with us> with impunity." It seems almost pathetic in view of the present naval situation. A long account, of th'.< omise, described as a '"mad-daring underfaking," was given. Germans were told that admiral and officers go again on shore on tho sth to tho German Consul : wills, letters home, objects of value—among them a photograph of the Kaiser with an autograph signature—w-.-ro deposited there, and then the ia.-t prepavat'ms made for tho I great, Hussar ride. " The sun sinks deeper : dark shadows -spread over tho Strait* of Messina. Strong* r smoke tho chimneys ; through the stillness rings the found of the, anchor-chain as the anchor is pulled upThe crowd swarms thousand-headed to th-r harbor: then resounds dear from th;> flagship freoben the music of ' Roil dir i'ii Seigerkranz.' Cfficers amd crew stand »>n j deck with their brads uncovered. Three roaring 'hurrahs-' lo the War Ivord ring ever io the shore, where the crowd remain silent, struck by the cheerful calm and confidence with which German seamen go forth to tight. Only the moon lights thnn on their nocturnal trip. Peep silence—the roar of cannon has iieen heard perhaps in tho distance—the wreckage has been found of an English ship-—but as yet definite information is lacking of all "that happored to the lurking foe. One thins alone wo krow; they are through!" Never probably in the." history of sea power w;is the ignominious flight" of two powerful ships represented in the atmosphere of so much glory. AIRSHIPS IN THE NORTH SEA. So far wo have hoard nothing of the work "f destruction against British men-of-war in the North S'ea which was to have been carried on by airships of the. Zeppelin type. It ir apparent from the German news ir.veuited for American consumption that even thos* persons who controlled t.h-: Press Bureau in Germany anticipated that in the early days of war we should sutler heavy losses owing to homln thrown from Zeppelins. So confident, woe they that thev issued carefully-elaborated -storms of British battleships "which had been dcstroved by theso means. It swms as though every calculating entertained in Germany as "to the course of war had been falsified." It. was certainly expected that the United States would "seize tho opportunity to cross the Canadian frontier, and Japan was suddenly *o break away from the Alliance in order to attack British interests in the Pacific. So confidant were Germans as- to the action of the .lapansse that on the eve of the war Japanese residents in Berlin were carried shoulder high through the streets and loudly cheered. A remarkable change occurred when the Government at Tokio expressed their intention of standing side by fide with tho Powers of the Triple Entente Then no indignitv was too gross to be inflicted upon tho Japanese diplomatists, to say nothing of private residents and the largo number of students who at tho moment were studying in German universities. BLIND LEADERS OE THE BUND. It is extraordinary how completely the German Government misread the signs of the times. Their whole naval policy had been based on the assumption that they were loved, or sufficiently feared, by all the other Towers of the world. <ind that when war came Great Britain would sta.Tid alone, while friendly assistance wan proffered, to Germany on every band. How peat, therefore, must have heen the surprise when Grand Admiral von Tirpitz found that his country was engaged with four of tho great naval Powers of the world—England. Franco, Japan, and Russia —and that tho Italian fleet maintained its neutrality. Even Napoleon, who was singularly ignorant of naval affairs, and made a series- of colossal mistakes when lie dealt with matters of the sea, never was so much astray as the Navy Department in Berlin and tho Foreign Office, which was its adviser on external policy. OUR OWN SILENT NAVY". And what of the Old Land? Ls she not doinj; something? Yes; she is working. not shouting. There is a tendency to forget that now, at this hour, when war is proceeding on land as well as on tea, there are fleets in being and fleets not in being--the latter consisting of ships in variovs c tales of completion. The exact action in this direction which the Admiralty nvn taking is carefully screened from the enemy. Reports from the dockyards and from "the groat shipbuilding establishments show, however, that great, activity prevails in pushing on to completion the, large numbers of ships of various types which are in the course of construction. ."When the Navy Estimates were introduced in th,» House of Commons the Admiralty made a statement as to the new ships "which it was anticipated would I>2 passed into the Fleet during the current financial year It was stated that the following vessel* would lw completed before March 31 next : Battleships.—Queen Elizabeth. Warspite, Benbcw, and Finperor of India. Battle-cruiser.—Tiger. Ijiiiht Oruieers.—Aurora. Arethusa, Cordelia, Undaunted, Galatea, Inconstant, Royalist, Penelope, and Phaeton. Torpedo Craft.—Destroyer No. 29, submarine boat No. 20. .Miscellaneous.—Diligence. Reliance, and Safeguard.

A good rwy of these vessels have already heen commissioned. The Arethusa has fcfoen in the fighting line, and tho XJndarnted's sinking of four German destroyers i<* ficsh in memory. The.ro 's every reason to anticipate that under the pifssurc of war the completion of the rss-m-ainder will fce eon side rablv expedited. Tho Empire can. whole-heartedly rely on its Navv.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141104.2.57

Bibliographic details

NAVAL NOTES, Issue 15641, 4 November 1914

Word Count
2,454

NAVAL NOTES Issue 15641, 4 November 1914

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